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How Do You Consciously Uncouple Assets?

Entertainers Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin created a divorce sensation when they announced they were consciously uncoupling. What effect does that have on division of assets during divorce?

In March, the celebrity couple announced their separation via Goop, the website of Ms. Paltrow. While a great deal of attention is paid to the apparent civility by which Ms. Paltrow and Mr. Martin intend to carry out their divorce, less has been dedicated to just how that works out in divorce court.

Regardless of philosophy, all divorce proceedings must deal with division of assets, custody and parenting time, child support and spousal support.

Equitable distribution in New York

New York courts follow a rule of equitable distribution. Assets, property and liabilities are divided fairly between parting couples. For Mr. Martin and Ms. Paltrow, consciously uncoupling their property may prove challenging. Consider these points:

  • Each partner came to the marriage wealthy. With a possible combined net worth of around $250 million, thought must be given to whether their wealth and assets are separate or marital property.
  • It is unclear whether the couple has a prenuptial agreement, though it seems likely the couple would create financial protection prior to their marriage.
  • The couple is real estate savvy and has used limited liability corporations (LLC) to make several real estate purchases, including the Magic Kingdom Land Trust to purchase a $14 million Malibu home purportedly for use by Mr. Martin when visiting his children.
  • Parenting arrangements must be made for the two minor children of the couple. The family moved to California approximately a year ago after living the majority of their married life in London.

As an intensely private couple, the use of trusts and a prenuptial agreement may shield Ms. Paltrow and Mr. Martin from media forays as their conscious uncoupling progresses.

When you have questions about divorce, distribution of assets or estate planning in Nassau County, speak to an experienced New York family law attorney for advice.

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